It’s a tough call to quit your day job to pursue your passion, but that’s just what Adelaide’s own Kelly Brouhaha has done. Kelly is touring in support of her new EP Mama Didn’t Raise A Quitter (Released Sept 1) her first release in 3 years since leaving her mortgage and marriage in an effort to find happiness and pursue her love of music full-time. Kelly will be performing a hometown show on Sunday, 24 September at The Grace Emily Hotel to debut her new EP. Will Oakeshott hit Kelly up with a few questions in the lead up to her road trip in her van dubbed ‘Pamela Vanderson.’ (Love it!)
Hi Kelly, how are you? This is Will Oakeshott from GlamAdelaide, thank you so much for your time to do this interview. What are you up to right now?
Thanks so much Will. I’m sitting in an indian restaurant in Avoca Beach on the Central Coast about to check out an open mic at The Avoca Beach Hotel (it’s mid week, so a few days off for me).
Your story is rather an incredible one and one that has certainly inspired and intrigued music lovers throughout the country. I am instantly reminded of Bob Dylan’s ‘Chronicles’ book when I read / hear about your amazing story. Have you read it? Whilst there are arguments some of his tales in this novel are basically untrue, don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story right? Hehe. There is a few chapters committed to his time couch surfing at friends places around USA playing wherever a café or venue would host him and some very impromptu shows at politicians and celebrities houses; was this the kind of inspiration for your drastic change in life?
“I haven’t read it but I can certainly relate. I guess my inspiration was getting fed up with living life through the system and struggling to pay rent and hold down a job, I’ve always done music or music related things, and they make it a little harder to sustain the usual mortgage/rent scenario and everything that goes with that. I realised I was so stressed trying to keep up with a mortgage and not enjoying the work I was doing to pay for it and thought fuck it, lets give music full-time a go and see how that pans out.”
Have you had any odd gigs that you have played since you began this full-time musician endeavour? Where have been the strangest places you have played? Or the best?
“So many! You never really know what you’ve got yourself into with a gig until you’ve played it. I often play shows where my friends have played or venue’s on an unknown musicians poster – once I played a vegan café early on having seen it on a fellow muso’s tour poster (and I’m not a vegan, nor had I at this point ever eaten vegan food) assuming it was a career builder type gig because if they were playing it must be the thing to do, and turns out they’d played the café for a free feed on their tour, no-one turned up and I got to experience my first introduction to vegan food. It really taught me that every muso is on their own path and has a different purpose for different gigs, and that on tour all gigs have a purpose and not always the reason you’d think.”
How do you book your shows when you are living in Pamela Vanderson? Are they organised well in advance or is it more spontaneous than that?
“I email venues well in advance, sometimes 6 months ahead and attempt to solve the logistics maze of touring this huge country, it’s why my schedule often looks crazy – because it usually is. Lining up dates in the right towns is incredibly difficult!!”
What was it about Clare Bowditch’s The Winter I Chose Happiness album that inspired you to begin a full-time musician life?
“Her song “One Little River” has the line “let someone know you” and there’s a bunch of other songs on that record that speak about living your truth and doing it despite the fear, it made me realise I needed to be doing music more than I was, so I went home and quit my job.”
What have been some of the biggest challenges of life on the road?
“Maintaining the van has been tough, each tour this year has done well over 6000kms and the repairs have been EXPENSIVE. The loneliness gets a bit much sometimes too, but for the most part I’m enjoying the journey.”
How about highlights?
“Its small things, like playing shows in Sydney more often and having industry come out and offer you better opportunities, which make it worthwhile. I picked up a support with Diesel back at home from a show in Sydney and a couple of other instances like that that would never have happened sticking to Adelaide.”
I would imagine the duet (Here) with Ms. Bowditch was quite an amazing achievement?
“It was incredible. To get treated like an equal with one of you idols is beyond amazing.”
The single for ‘As Long As There’s A Smile’ portrays a beautiful message of positivity. Was that the aim with the song? How does it fit in with the rest of Mama Didn’t Raise A Quitter EP? Was the endeavour to become a full-time musician an inspiration for the song-writing process? Or leaving your old life behind?
“Yup. The song was written having watched my mum’s incredible strength and her mantra of getting on with it and pulling up your big girl knickers when it all gets a bit much and keeping on keeping on.”
What else is in store for Ms. Brouhaha? Another film clip? More travel? International travel? An appearance on Neighbours or Home And Away? A duet with Ed Sheeran?
“More touring ! I’m touring with Beccy Cole and her Aussie Road Crew Tour in October, playing a show with Diesel at The Gov and then back through Victoria in November for a short tour along with Bendigo Blues and Roots Festival. I’ll hopefully get some time in December to sit at home over Christmas and start thinking about the next album.”
Thank you so much Kelly! Best of luck for all your future touring and the EP!
Head on out to the Grace Emily on Sunday, 24 September to see her debut her EP.!